Posted by: jgurner | December 30, 2010

2010: The Year We Didn’t Make Contact

In a little more than 24 hours, 2010 will be gone and, unlike some years in the past, its passing really doesn’t make me feel one way or another.

Aside from being fairly disappointed that, once again, we haven’t made contact with the beings who created the black monoliths, 2010 was just basically “another year.” I guess the thing that made it remarkable is that it was so unremarkable. Those years have been few and far between in the past decade.

The first decade of the 21st Century was mostly about change for me. So many aspects of my life changed and they changed drastically. And I know it’s clichĂ©, but the world really did change in so many ways during the past 10 years and not necessarily for the better.

For me, the fact that 2010 was kind of unremarkable says that maybe the tumultuous years prior have finally come to an end and maybe there is more much needed calm ahead. Maybe I have hit a time of true stability in my life. Only time will tell, but things are looking good.

Looking Back at 2010

Of course, that’s not to say 2010 hasn’t been enjoyable. I’ve had a hell of a time. I did a fair bit of traveling. Two trips to Chicago, including one in February where I saw more snow than I’ve ever seen before in my life and one in October, where I finally got to visit the city at a time when the temperatures were above freezing. I also rode a roller coaster for the first time in about 30 years during one of two trips to Six Flags in Atlanta. Atlanta is a lot more fun than I remembered it being.

Traveling, for the first time in my post-college life, is fun once again. As much because of who I travel with as where we go. It’s very low stress with no over blown expectations and, as a result, we always have a very enjoyable time. And that, I think, sums up my personal life for the past couple of years as well.

I also arrived at a pretty good place creatively during the past year. Making music is always hit or miss, and for a big part of the year it was a big ole miss, but for the latter half of the year, I’ve been on a tear.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve been working with some incredibly talented musicians as of late. Each one has inspired me not only in working together, but well beyond. I forget, sometimes, as I sit alone making music just how much fun it is making music with other people.. It’d really be fun to put a band together again. Maybe in the coming year… Hmmm….

In approaching the seven year mark in my job at the liberry, I still love it. Any job, no matter how great, gets to be a drag now and again and there are always days I’d rather stay in bed, but overall, I don’t think I could ask for a better job or one that I get more satisfaction out of.

One of the best things so far this year has been that I apparently have finally gotten the upper hand in my battle with my gout. I’ve gone six month without an outbreak and my Doc says I’ve made a whole lot of progress in the past year. It’s great to be able to do things like, oh, say walk without constant pain. There is a down side, of course, in that I don’t need the pain meds any more…

Looking Back at the Past 10 Years

As I look back on the past year, I can’t help but think back over the past decade and notice how much everything has changed.

When I look back sometimes it seem that all I can see is sorrow. 2001 started off with my father’s illness and death. There was the death of my cousin Nina as well. Only two years older than me, she and her sister. Squirt, and me and my nephew Roy all grew up together. Coupled with the death of my father and the death of a high school friend a couple of years earlier, not to mention the general gloom cast upon the beginning of the 2000s, things just didn’t seem that rosy.

Add to that the failure of my marriage, a job I hated, living in a town I hated and battling constant pain and you can see why it might be tough to see anything much positive from the first half of the decade.

But, there was plenty of good there. I might have hated my job, but I still loved the idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Even today, the idea of being a journalist, a real journalist is something I wish were possible. The world has changed too much for me to be happy in what the profession has become today, but I still love the idea.

And, I have to say, I was pretty good at what I did. I think about my friends from college who went into journalism and, in particular the newspaper business, and I’m amazed at just how talented a group of individuals it was. And still is. I may have been at the bottom of that pack, but that put me far and away ahead of so many others. And it was during the last couple of years I was in the business that I picked up the two awards I am most proud of, for editorial writing. Awards that, ironically, made my job worse (they didn’t like success. At least by people like me.)

Also during that time I came back to making music. For a long time during the 90s I barely touched a musical instrument. I went for years without playing my French horn or my bass. I bought a guitar but rarely played it. Stress from work and life kept me from my creativity. In 2004 I started seriously making music again and I’ve been going at it non-stop ever since.

As much as anything or anyone, music has helped me make it through the rough times. And, because of it, I have met tons of new people. Though I’ve never met most of them face-to-face, several of them have become some of the closest friends I’ve ever had.

In all of my life, there’s nothing that comes even close to the pure joy that making music brings to me.

Looking Ahead

Ten years ago, I couldn’t have even guessed where life would lead. Today is no different. But, what is different is where I am. Not just physically, but the whole big picture of where I am. That picture of the entire universe, time and space, with an arrow pointing saying “You are here…”

So many of the things that were important in my life then don’t mean as much now, and things that I didn’t give much notice to then are in the forefront of my mind today. But that’s how life is. You are continually moving, changing and evolving. The person you are today isn’t the same one you were yesterday and won’t be the same one you are tomorrow. The fact that I’ve come to accept change in my life and my world is a big change from where I was, sitting in my office at The Aberdeen Examiner 10 years ago.

At that time in my life I was terrified by things changing. That kept me in a job I didn’t like. It kept me living in an area I didn’t like. And it kept a marriage going for much longer than it really should have lasted.

While it wasn’t very pleasant, the past decade taught me one important lesson: All things are impermanent. Things begin. Things end. Things change. And that’s not a bad thing. When something ends, it may bring sadness or it may bring joy. It may pass unnoticed. But as a wise man once sang about closing time at a bar, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. During the past decade a lot of things came to and end. And a lot of things began as well. And, today, I celebrate and embrace them all.

I’m looking forward to the experiences that are ahead. To the beginnings and the endings. And, where ever life may take me over the next year and the next decade, I’m ready to go along. To explore. To meet new life and new civilizations.

To boldly go where I’ve never gone before.

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